Midwest Film Festival presents Alternative Takes for May’s First Tuesdays

The Midwest Film Festival (MFF) presents Alternative Takes for May’s upcoming First Tuesdays event. This collection of nine short films offer distinct atmospheres, each with their own unique point of view. The selection features a range of dark humor, heartfelt expressions, and a mix of experiences for the senses.

May 3rd will be a one-of-a-kind evening. First Tuesdays start with a 7 pm social hour, 8pm show, followed by a Q&A with members of the artistic teams who’ll provide insights into their creative visions.

First Tuesdays: Alternative Takes is comprised of the following films and their directors.

MICROWAVE SPIDER (Derek Bauer)
WOOLGATHERING (Emma Bright & Bethany Clemens)
SPOTTED (Brandii Champagne)
YELLOW POLKA DOT (Tin Nguyen)
GRIFFICA (C.J. Arellano)
DEVOUR (Kate Raney)
FISH EYE (Colin Parker)
HASTA SIEMPRE (Ben Senior)
COMFORT IN HYDROLOGY (Steve Rowell)

Their work features the onscreen talents of Meghan Gobler, Anissa Lubers, Matthew Sletto, Riley Thelen, Emma Bright, Bethany Clemens, Kaitlin Eve Romero, Amy Stricker, Tori Lane Ross, James Dolbeare, Ulyses Espinoza, Julia Morales, Adam Schreck, Charles Allen-Anderson, Diego Gombert and Clara Sanchez Garcia Del Rio.

Eight of the nine selections were shot, at least in part, across Midwestern states the likes of Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois. The exception having been helmed by Ben Senior, a northern Chicago suburbs native. Senior’s entry was filmed in the Canary Islands with the advice of German filmmaker Werner Herzog.

Midwest Film Festival Executive Director Erica Duffy states, “This will be a fun night. We love featuring ‘genre bending’ work because it shows what cinema is capable of and how very few boundaries exist when talent and imaginative expression come into play.”

Rebecca Fons, Director of Programming of the Gene Siskel film Center says, “As the host venue for the Midwest Film Festival’s First Tuesday series, the Gene Siskel Film Center is incredibly proud to welcome local filmmakers and films to our space each month, in such an engaging and celebratory program. We’re especially proud to have short film collections like ALTERNATIVE TAKES, as the lineup introduces us to emerging talent, reconnects us with filmmakers we follow, and showcases such a diversity of voices in a single night of cinema.”

Synopsis of each film:

Microwave Spider – Family tensions rise when a father is injured and becomes unable to work.

Woolgathering – An interpretation of a deep, dark, intimate dream. spotted – A story about a bird, heavily inspired by the solitude of “pandemic living”. It’s an art piece that makes a statement on body dysmorphia, perception, and the potential lack of existence beyond death.

Yellow Polka Dot – Sandra and Barbara are enjoying a day at the beach with their partners in 1962. The night before they all went out to a night club. The men bonded, as well as the women, albeit in very different fashions.

Griffica – A man suspects his boyfriend is a demon.

Devour – Consumption considered, the din of dining. Using reference videos from my front yard, I created animations and collaged them with cyanotypes of garden material and audio field recordings from travels near and far. The resulting moment in my microcosm becomes a consideration of life cycles and habitats.

Fish Eye – Fish Eye explores the struggle of expression through the eyes of a homeless man’s soul wandering through a diverse city. It is a 15-minute stylized film starting from the perspective of a homeless artist. After his sudden death on the streets, his soul wanders around the city viewing strange instances in different peoples lives as they pass by each other. It is an honest look into the conversations and deep emotions of 22 city dwellers. Their perspectives range broadly from backgrounds of the rich, the poor, young, old, businessmen and criminals. They each individually explain their own personal philosophies on why things are the way they are, and why they do what they do. This all forms a subtle but inescapable theme: Confidence is silent, and insecurities are loud. Fisheye was shot all in one take around 8 city blocks. We utilized 22 improvisational actors from the Chicago-land area with professional backgrounds.

Hasta Siempre – On the day before they say goodbye forever, two best friends explore an abandoned hotel.

Comfort in Hydrology – A two-channel moving image work about a recent past and a speculative future of an unconstrained and mutable river, between the headwaters in the frozen north and the delta in the subtropical south. Filmed on and above what is currently known as Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and Louisiana during the Great Flood of 2019.

All activities will convene on Tuesday, May 3rd at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 S. State
Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Start Time, 7:00pm:
Attendees are invited to network with their fellow filmmakers and peers during the first hour of this event. Vendor/sponsor tables with merchandise from the Midwest Film Festival will be present and available to all guests

Screening + Q&A, 8:00pm:
The doors to the theater will open at 7:00 pm, with the screening starting at 8:00 pm. After the screening, guests will be able to enjoy an interactive filmmaker Q&A, moderated by an MFF host. Attendees will have the chance to hear from and speak to the films’ creative crew present at the event.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $7 for Gene Siskel Film Center members.

Tickets are available AVAILABLE HERE and at the Gene Siskel Film Center website.


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